Thursday, December 12, 2019

City attorney Ginny Gennaro among the applicants to replace city manager Alan Tandy, Tracy Leach works overtime to combat misleading information on the oil industry and a UC Berkeley instructor thinks rural Americans are cursed

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of any other individual, organization or company. 

 * ... ALAN TANDY: Is City Manager Alan Tandy standing in the way of a faster, cheaper way to build a low barrier homeless shelter? That's what City Councilman Willie Rivera thinks, and he articulated it during an appearance on The Richard Beene Show this week. Rivera claimed that Tandy
is hellbent on the city building its own shelter with Measure N money, and has ignored overtures by the county to work together to attack the problem. Both Supervisor David Couch and county CAO Ryan Alsop have offered to work with the city, and Rivera himself asked city staff to look into a city/county venture. What happened? According to Rivera, it fell on deaf ears as Tandy pushed ahead to build a separate city shelter. Rivera, if you recall, opposed a city staff recommendation to buy property on East Brundage, a move that likely irritated Tandy to no end. Meanwhile, the city continues its quest to find a suitable site, but Rivera made it clear he is waiting for Tandy to retire Jan. 10, 2020, to get a fresh start on this nagging problem.

 * ... REPLACING TANDY: Meanwhile the city has more than 20 applicants to replace Tandy, and at least one of them in an inside candidate. I am told that city attorney Ginny Gennaro has thrown her hat into the ring to replace Tandy. No word on if our two assistant city managers, Chris Huot and Jacqui Kitchen, have also applied. Gennaro is well respected and well liked on the city council. (file photos if Gennaro, Kitchen and Hot)

 * ... FULL MOON:
Are you ready for the last full moon of the decade? Well that is happening this week so get ready to cast your eyes toward the sky to catch it. Known as the "cold moon," this one will appear larger and brighter than usual, according to NASA. "Cold Moon" is a name the Algonquin tribes gave December's full moon as a way to mark the long, cold nights that accompany it. Other nicknames for this month's moon include Oak Moon, Moon before Yule, Long Night Moon, Uduvapa Poya, the Karthikai Deepam Moon and the Chang'e Moon.

 * ... ARE WE 'BAD PEOPLE?':  If you come from a farming family or one involved with oil, do you consider yourself a "bad person?" Well, apparently Jackson Kernion does and she should know because - well, you know - he teaches philosophy courses at UC Berkeley and he is prone to deep thinking. "I unironically embrace the bashing of rural Americans," Kernion wrote in a now deleted tweet. "They, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions ... and we should shame people who aren't pro-city." Okay, let that sink in for a minute. This is a teacher at an elite university who apparently has no shame. Kernion also said rural citizens should pay more in taxes and be forced to live "uncomfortable" lives for rejecting "efficient" city life. Kernion later deleted the tweet and said he would "reflect" on it. And there you have it.

 * ... SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: If you work in the oil and gas industry, it is hard enough dealing with distortions and half truths when it comes to the fossil fuel industry. And that is what happened when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on 'Meet the Press' last week and proclaimed - inaccurately - that Kern County produces more jobs in the solar industry than the oil and gas. Among those who were livid was Tracy Leach, head of Providence Consulting, who represents fossil fuel interests. Said Providence: "In the Meet the Press interview, Schwarzenegger stated as fact that the solar industry provides more jobs for our area than oil. The truth is our oil and gas industry provides 23,900 direct and indirect jobs whereas solar has only 1500 permanent jobs created since 2007! Clearly there is no comparison and how the former California governor got this so wrong is very unfortunate."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Tonight I'll be drinking wine from the skull of the guy that wouldn't stop asking questions during the webinar."

* ... BAD FORM: Just when you things could not get worse, you learn that people who received gifts from non-profits are returning them to retailers for cash. That's right, just check out this post I spotted on Facebook: "I just witnessed the most sickening thing... a woman returning multiple 'gifts,' clothes, bikes, skateboards, dolls... all given by Angel Tree. Walmart didn't give her cash, but they gave her a gift card to be used for ANYTHING Walmart sells! After almost crying (seriously), I asked the Walmart associate how often they saw this, the answer was ALL DAY the day after Christmas... IF you do give to ANY of the multiple organizations that give to the needy children, please take time to mark through the bar code with a black Sharpie (Walmart says they look for this)...(I copied and pasted this from a friend. Sickening!) Mark through those barcodes.":

* ... MEMORIES: A walk down memory lane in pictures, looking first at the old Kress building and later an old theater back in the day.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Bishop Joseph Brennan says he will cooperate with the Attorney General's review of church policies to protect children, Mark Salvaggio joins The Richard Beene Show and cheers to DA Cynthia Zimmer for slapping charges on a woman who spit on a police officer's food order at McDonald's

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of any other individual, organization or company. 

 * ... BISHOP BRENNAN: Bishop Joseph Brennan, the man who will ultimately decide the fate of Monsignor Craig Harrison, says he is "fully cooperating" with the Attorney General in reviewing  the Diocese of Fresno's practices to protect children from abuse. Brennan said the Diocese has provided a "high volume of material" about the diocese's polities and procedures and that it welcomes the review by the Attorney General's Office. All this comes as various states, including California, crack down
on the Catholic Church and its long record of covering up abuse allegation over the years. For his part, Brennan's appointment to Fresno was viewed as an attempt by the church to clean up its past questionable practices in a bid to start anew after a long dark period for the church. Brennan has already complied with a Kern County Superior Court ruling demanding that the diocese hand over the personnel files of Monsignor Craig Harrison of Bakersfield, who has been accused by multiple men of sexual abuse over several decades. That order was part of a defamation lawsuit Harrison filed against a critic, whose own lawyers have threatened to make a "very public" trial out of the accusations against Harrison while he served in Bakersfield, Merced County and Firebaugh. The diocese says it welcomes the review by the Attorney General’s Office which, it says, can help advance efforts for more transparency and to “…tirelessly pursue and develop all reasonable measure to protect the vulnerable in our midst.”
 WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Brennan will ultimately make the final call on Harrison, who is going into his first Christmas not presiding over services at St. Francis Church. Observers don't expect Brennan to rule until the Firebaugh police department wraps up its investigation into charges of sexual abuses against Harrison.
 BRENNAN'S OPTION: Brennan has several options. The best case for Harrison is for Brennan to reinstate him to the pulpit, which seems unlikely at this point. He could also transfer him to anther parish or throw him out of the church. Or, perhaps to least appealing of all the options for whatever side you are on, Brennan could simply let this drag on for years as Harrison tries to rebuild his life as a civilian.
 HARRISON'S FUTURE: What would Harrison's future look like out of the church? Harrison's legal team has launched an aggressive campaign to clear his name, slapping lawsuits on those who criticize him so that, if he does not go back to the church, he will have a future in Bakersfield. But it will be a future without the trappings that go along with being a monsignor, and he will never experience the "rock star" priest life he once enjoyed.
 BRENNAN: In September, Brennan admitted that some who wore the robes of the church, and enjoyed the power, had sinned. "It is sad at how some within our church community and certainly some who have worn the collar have hurt others,” he said.

 * ... JUSTICE: Here is a big tip of the hat to District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, who did the right thing by deciding to lodge a felony charge against a young woman who hates cops so much she spit in an officer's order while working at McDonald's. That's right, the DA's office says Tatyana Hargrove was working at McDonald's when she tampered with the food order of a Bakersfield police officer by rubbing two hamburger buns on the dirty floor and then spitting on the meat patty. Hargrove, if you remember, was involved in an altercation with BPD officers whom she later sued for alleged mistreating her. She lost the lawsuit and now, months after the suit, she has been charged. Apparently the manager of the McDonald's on Stockdale Highway saw her tampering with food while reviewing a videotape and turned Hargrove into authorities. Cheers to Zimmer for signaling to all the bad players out there that this will not be tolerated.

 * ... SALVAGGIO: Mark Salvaggio, a former Bakersfield city councilman and aide to Superior David Couch, is joining The Richard Beene Show as a regular contributor to talk local politics. Salvaggio is a keen political observer and analyst, and he will appear every Tuesday to add his commentary to the show, which airs daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM/1180 AM.

* ... GOOD FORM: Add Eagle Mountain Casino to the list of businesses that deserve a shoutout after the casino donated $100,000 to Honor Flight Kern County. The check was presented during Honor Flight's monthly breakfast event held Thursday at the downtown Bakersfield Elks Lodge.

 * ... BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday to Judy Wages McCarthy, wife of Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The McCarthy's have been married for 27 years.

* ... MEMORIES: Courtesy of the Kern County of Old Facebook page is this picture of this giant vine in Maricopa. The cutline read: "The world’s largest grapevine. Vine planted in 1892 near Maricopa in Kern County. Mr. Lester McDonald crouches beside the giant plant whose trunk measures nine feet in circumference, and in 1966 it was still growing. I haven’t a clue now if it’s still around."